Myself; Yourself 9–Oh, all right, you’re forgiven

This is more typical of this episode than not.

Previews and blog rumors aren’t so reliable after all. My fears about this episode were largely unfounded, though it has other sets of problems alongside some relatively strong material. Even if this is really talking about three relatively unrelated plot threads, this ain’t filler; don’t skip it.

Continue reading Myself; Yourself 9–Oh, all right, you’re forgiven

Champloo-loving MIT Prof Outdoes Us All

Now this man is a fanboy

By writing a whole anime-influenced play! From the trusty Anime News Network:

On Thursday, November 29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Dance Theater Ensemble will premiere Live Action Anime 2007: Madness at Mokuba, a play inspired by themes and images from classic robot anime series. The story of the play involves two teams, competing in the Giant Robot Contest at the fictitious “Mokuba Institute of Technology,” that join together as a strange disease invades the campus. The performance will be held at the Kresge Little Theatre, on the MIT campus, and will be repeated on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1.

Mike’s Take: You know, I applied to MIT, knowing that I probably wouldn’t get in (I didn’t, and thankfully, because I ended up not liking computer science very much at my still-demanding alma mater anyway), because I wanted to be on the same campus with a bunch of hardcore geeks like me. Stuff like this helps explain why! You should also read the interview with the author of the play, Prof. Ian Condry, who loves hip-hop and Japanese pop culture–which of course explains why he loves Samurai Champloo so much and got excited when his students introduced it to him. (Who else? This is the campus that invited the Otaking himself after all!)

Otaking for MIT Student President

I agree with most of his choices for his favorites, especially The Girl Who Leapt Through Time–which I gave a glowing review–but I somewhat disagree with using Paranoia Agent as a starter into anime as he does. Kon is absolutely wonderful, a total original, but I think a bit too convoluted and artsy for many people. Maybe that’s why movie critics tend to love him so much. Cowboy Bebop, another one of his favorites, is a better choice IMO: much more accessible stylistically, well-told, and extremely well-scored. Plus it has tons of well-directed action. (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is also great.)

Any readers here go to MIT and can offer some thoughts or a review of this performance? I’m curious about it.

Exclusive: Yukana PMX Interview Transcript

L to R: Yukana, translator–and me (Fred hides behind me)

Anime Diet is again proud to present an exclusive interview, this time with the voice actress Yukana. She’s well known for her role as CC in Code Geass, Tessa Testarossa in Full Metal Panic, and characters in Chobits and numerous other shows. Throughout the interview, as well as in the fan panel (we missed the press conference), she was dressed in a long, dark velvet dress, and was simultaneously reserved and cheerful in answering questions. Her natural speaking voice may surprise you, unless, like me, you’re a Tessa Testarossa fan. Because that is who she sounds most like in real life! Kind of like how Hirano Aya sounds even more girlish than Haruhi Suzumiya in real life.

The interview was held on Saturday, November 10, 2007. This transcript is of a private interview, not a press conference, and perhaps ironically, that meant we spent a shorter amount of time with her than we did with the Claymore staff. But–we still got our delicious endorsement anyway! In Japanese, too.

(BTW, this is the only video you’ll be getting. We were requested to not display anything else in public. Sorry.)

Jeremy, myself, and Fred–who understands basic Japanese–were present. As in the Claymore staff interview, it was done through an interpreter, who translated in the third person, which is accurately transcribed here. The interview was edited for conciseness and clarity. And no, tj_han, there is no real juicy gossip for you. You’ll have to ask another reporter for that. :)

Coming soon: reports from the fan panels for both Yukana and Claymore staff, a video diary like the Anime Expo ones, and a final written report.

Continue reading Exclusive: Yukana PMX Interview Transcript

Let’s see them make the actual Gundam Next…

From Ann

Nissan GT-R Coupe’s Redesign Inspired by Gundam Anime 

Nissan Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura told BusinessWeek magazine that the Nissan GT-R coupe’s redesign, which was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show and Los Angeles Auto Show this month, was inspired by the Gundam anime series.

Specifically, Nakamura noted that the high-performance model’s square lines and vents were influenced by Gundam. The Japanese designers created the aggressively boxy overall design…

Ray’s take: YEAH RIGHT.  Watch the Americans make the first mechanized soldiers and weep!

So this is how Death Note would work in real life – unlike in the manga!

From Ann

Police Reaches Dead End in Belgian ‘Manga Murder’ Case

…on November 24 that the police have no concrete leads in the two-month-old case of body parts found near notes linked to the Death Note manga. On September 28, two hikers found a human torso and two thighs in Duden Park in the city of Saint-Gilles. Police later determined the shaven parts came from a Caucasian male individual. No identification or personal effects were found on the body parts, but two pieces of paper were found nearby with the same message in Roman capital letters: “WATASHI WA KIRA DESS.” This is an apparent misspelling of the Japanese phrase “Watashi wa Kira desu,” or “I am Kira (Killer),” that is used in Tsugumi Ooba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note suspense manga series…

…No missing person was reported whose description matches the body parts. The only potential witness that has come forward was a jogger that said she saw a blond man lying down in the area where the body parts were discovered. However, she could not provide any more clues…

Ray’s take: Well, duh! Kira used the Death Note! No wonder no evidence could be found. No wonder this doesn’t even look like anything in the Death Note manga and anime. I mean, come on! If I were Kira, would I do something exactly like the manga so that people can actually solve the case and find me???

Oops. XD BTW, I’ve NEVER EVER been to Belgium.

Myself; Yourself 8–Oh me, oh my, it’s drama trauma time

If Miyako didn’t have a cell phone…

You know, I haven’t blogged about this show in a while, but I caught up over Thanksgiving weekend. And you know, after episodes 7 and especially this one, 8…and after watching ef episode 7…scenes like this mean something pretty dramatic to me now.

Continue reading Myself; Yourself 8–Oh me, oh my, it’s drama trauma time

Interested in the manga biz? Live in the OC?

UC Irvine Extension has a course for you! From Anime News Network:

Starting in January, the UC Irvine Extension program in California will be offering the third class in a series on the business of anime and manga in the United States. “Manga and Anime Explosion: Finishing and Publishing Your Manga” will be a five-session class designed to teach students about the manga publishing and rights management business. Previous courses in the series included an introduction to anime and manga and a class on story development.

Mike’s Take: it looks like you’ve already missed out, alas, if you were more interested in developing storytelling skills. Or if you didn’t even know anything about anime and manga (which I’m sure is true of the people who read this site, eh?). But if you already have a webcomic or have work ready to submit and/or publish, and if you have the dough (this is why I can’t take extension courses like this), you might learn something. The guy who teaches it apparently helped sell Battle Angel Alita to James “King of the World” Cameron and is writing the Americanized version of Berserk. That might not bode well to some ears, but I suppose we are starting to learn these days that clout is awfully important when it comes even to this industry of ours.

ef-a tale of memories 8: Mostly a Breather

Shadows and light

After the concentrated intensity of episode 7, the writers smartly decided to largely lay off the emotional intensity (save for one final scene near the end, though it hardly comes as a shock). Too much drama can be bad for the viewer as well as for the soul.

Continue reading ef-a tale of memories 8: Mostly a Breather

Everything we really wanted to say about the fansub debate…

…is in Anime Diet Radio, episodes 13 and the mailbag sections of 14 and 15. Justin Sevakis’s editorial said a lot of the things that I think we would have said: the companies, especially Japanese ones, must find a way to distribute electronically soon after Japanese broadcast and directly compete with the convenience of fansubs.

Justin’s piece is well-written, reasoned, and eloquent, and in a very influential forum to boot. I hope the industry listens. Give it a read, if you haven’t already.

I don’t feel like I have anything else to add, really; I’m a little tired of the topic. Personally, I think the difficulty is in large part simply because anime is a foreign entertainment product to the world outside Japan, and foreign work is never going to make enough money from DVD sales alone because it will always be a niche market. Plus, for the most part,  it’s TV. Pretty much every argument can be boiled down to that in many ways.

Battle Royale Manga Ultimate Edition – Ultimate Review

battle royale ultimate edition

I have been a fan of Battle Royale since the English translation of the novel hit stateside back in 2003. Much later than most, I saw the film after having read the novel. While I could certainly see what people liked about the film, it was still hard for me to reconcile the various shifts from the original story. When I first saw the manga in the store, I was slightly turned off by the character design and slight deviations from the original story so I put it on the back burner to-read list. However, with Tokyo Pop’s recent Ultimate Edition versions coming out here I was intrigued. The mention of more of the original material being added to make it closer to the Japanese release as well as bonus content was impetus enough for me to check it out.

First off, the the new cover on Volume 1 of the hard bound Ultimate Edition was much more stimulating then the first volume of the U.S. release. The first volume manga cover always reminded me of a weird comic version of Mt. Rushmore where the faces of key players in Battle Royale replaced past presidents. Once inside, I found that art style was still, as I remembered, much too odd in parts (the worst example being the sadistic “Program” instructor Sakamochi looking somewhat like a jolly yet deformed version of Sylvester Stallone). However, I was nonetheless buckled down and ready to read through this solidly bulky graphic novel of blood, guts and grit. Surprisingly, the story was much closer to the original novel than the movie. Although neither really addresses the “Program”, in which a class of junior high students are pitted to fight to the death against each other, adequately. In the movie the reasoning behind it is referred as the Battle Royale Act and in the manga it is presented as a twisted game show for the public’s entertainment. In the novel it is primarily a governmental tool of control used to cultivate fear in the masses as well as quell organized rebellion. However, some creative license is often to be expected despite the disappointment of many fans of the novel.

Taking into consideration minor story changes, the biggest difference from the novel is that the Ultimate Edition now includes previously removed graphic and sexually explicit content making this even less of a read for anyone under the age of 18. The gore is embellished beyond the original novel and even the movie, although this may be expected for such a graphic novel. The bonus back story for the character of the viciously cold seductress Mitsuko Souma, seemed an overt attempt to glean the hormone charged teen or porn obsessed adult audience. Gratuitous at best, the Ultimate Edition added character back story lends no real help to the narrative and actually in my opinion detracts from the imagination factor.

Overall the packaging is attractive, the a few parts of the bonus material are interesting enough and despite a English adaption that is somewhat steeped in controversy the story still holds up as rather solid and runs decently close to the original novel. Unfortunately, for myself and potentially other readers the gratuitous hentai additions to the story are graphic to the point that they can easily become a deal breaker to anyone not interested in over the top anime porn. Give me a good old blood and guts story any day but I just don’t get my jollies from hand-sketched girls having sex acts in black and white. But if this is not a problem for the average potential reader then I leave up to them to decide for themselves.

If Ben Gibbard were an otaku…

…he might come up with this after watching Higurashi. (See the song this is based on, “Soul Meets Body” by Mr. Gibbard’s band Death Cab for Cutie, here.)

The singing is not 100% there–more like 95% there. But the lines scan perfectly to “Soul Meets Body,” and it’s pronounced correctly for a change. And being a fan of anime, Higurashi, and Death Cab, it’s a gratifying combination.

Thanks to Wakaranai for spotting this.